We visited here today. All Rick's books (Great Britain, England and London 2015) say that you can get into the courtyard (where the zero meridian line is) for free -- i.e. before where they make you pay admission to the Observatory. Today we could not do that. I don't know if this is a new permanent policy, but the guard seemed to think I was crazy for wanting to get just beyond the iron gate - still being outside the building, and in the courtyard (but before you actually enter the Observatory building) for free. You now have to pay to even enter the courtyard. At least that was the way it was today, and they thought I was crazy to think was ever otherwise.
Entrance to the Astronomy Centre is FREE. Entrance charges apply to
the Meridian Line and Flamsteed House.
That said, walk west to east just north or south of the centre and you will have crossed the prime meridian.
During the period it was free it was swamped out with visitors that it simply couldn't cope with. Hence the reintroduction of admission charges to the more historic areas. Even now it can have long queues for the meridian.
Thank you, Marco and Edgar. Rick Steves staff, please note, and edit the new books to reflect this. Thanks.
I did forward your report to the book editors. FYI, a more reliable way to report to the book department is through the link at http://www.ricksteves.com/forms/guidebook-feedback-form. I may go to Greenwich myself this year (have still never been!) and will try to keep this conversation in mind.
There are also plenty of other spots where the meridian is marked - there's one about ten minutes' walk from my house.
Thank you Laura. We are in London again, now, and still using all three of Rick's books (ebooks) -- UK, England, and London.